Thursday, October 23, 2014

Healthy Italian Wedding Soup

We all know that with the weather getting colder, it is finally soup weather again.  Soup is one of my favorite things to make!  It is so comforting in the fall and winter, and normally quick to make!  I had wanted to make Italian Wedding Soup for quite some time, but as you all know, dinner time for us is healthy for the most part.  I traveled quite a lot the past couple months, so with a week from home, I definitely wanted to make some soup.

This soup turned out absolutely amazing.  It is so quick to make, and was so healthy.  The meatballs take the longest to make, but can be made before hand if you need to.  Because I do not like beans, that was skipped on our end, but most recopies call for beans!  It is such a hardy soup that you really don't need to make anything else with it.  It will fill you up more than you think!  It makes about 6 servings, depending on how much you eat, but it is easy to make it a larger or smaller batch.  So, here we go!

Italian Wedding Soup

Serves 6-8


Soup ingredients:
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 large carrots, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
8 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
6oz baby spinach, chopped
1 1/2 cups pearl couscous (found near the rice in grocery stores) or small pasta

Meatball ingredients:
1lb ground turkey
2 tbsp milk
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic pepper pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  1. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat olive oil. Add carrots and onions; saute for 5-8 minutes or until softened. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes more.
  2. Add wine; cook down for 2 minutes. Add broth, heat to slow boil.
  3. Add zucchini, seasonings, pasta/couscous, and meatballs. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until your pasta is tender.
  4. Add chopped spinach, stir through until wilted, about 2-4 minutes.
  5. Serve - some people prefer to add cheese on top, fresh Parmesan is the norm!
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a SilPat or regular foil and coat with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients well. Using a rounded 1 tbsp measuring spoon or small melon baller, scoop out meat; shape into small balls. Makes roughly 100  meatballs, depending on how small you make them.
  3. Place meatballs on baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch. Bake for 10 minutes.

    Sunday, October 12, 2014

    St. Simons Island - Labor Day Weekend

    Labor Day weekend may have been a long time ago, but with work being crazy, travel being at an all time high, and life just being busy, the blogging has dropped off quite a bit.  We knew that summer was coming to an end as labor day weekend was approaching and didn't get to spend much time this summer at the beach.  We had some friends that were off of school, so we decided it was the perfect time to take an extended weekend enjoying the sun!  We hit the road on Thursday after everyone finished up work and started the drive in the direction of St. Simons.  We had booked a hotel along the way, so around midnight, we made our destination.  Kellie Ann and Reza were with us, so once we made it to the hotel, we went to sleep pretty quickly since we knew we wanted to hit the road pretty early on Friday.

    Friday we got up and drove the remaining hour to St. Simons.  As soon as we got there, we hit the beach and met up with Duncan and Allie, who had stayed on St. Simon the previous night.  After enjoying some time at the pool, we finally got to check into our place.  We rented a beautiful place in Coast Cottages.  The place had 4 huge bedrooms, three stories, and a beautiful balcony, kitchen, and living room on the bottom floor.  That was plenty of room for the 8 of us! We also had private beach access, two beautiful pools, and bikes to go explore the island!
    walkway to the beach
    sunset from our rooftop
    The weekend was the perfect weekend.  It was spent with wonderful company.  The mornings normally started with a beautiful bike ride.  We were lucky to have 6 bikes at the house so we would explore different areas of the island once we woke up.  After our bike ride, we would enjoy breakfast, then head to the pool.  The pool was beautiful, relaxing, and didn't require any work, so we would relax there until lunch time.  After lunch back at the house, we would set up at the beach for the remainder of the day.  We had brought a tent to make sure we didn't get too much sun, corn hole, soccer balls, and everything needed to entertain us.  The weather really was perfect all 4 of the days, and only started raining after we hit the road on Monday to head home after some time at the pool.  Once we had enough of the beach, we would pack up, stop for some more fun at the pool, and then head back to our house.
    The Whole Crew!

    Bike Crew!
    As far as dinner went, we cooked two of the three nights.  One of the nights we made steak and chicken fajitas,and the other night we made a low country boil.  Both are super simple to make with a large group, don't take too much prep time, and everyone was happy!  The one night we went out to eat, we headed to Catch 228.  Joe and I had been there before, and knew it was amazing!  Needless to say, all of us got our fill of seafood! 
    The trip was absolutely perfect and we couldn't have asked for better weather for our labor day weekend.  The company was great, the location was beautiful, and it was a much needed break from the real world.  After getting home, it was time to hit the ground running again and finish up the year at work.